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Interview conducted January 15 2011
Interview published January 17 2011

Swedish thrash metal pioneers The Haunted are soon releasing their seventh studio-album "Unseen". With this one, they want to step away from the need to play in a certain genre, and the thrash is a chapter now over. So says vocalist Peter Dolving in this interview.

Olof: Hi, how are you doing?

  • Peter: I´m good. I´ve been doing interviews 12 hours a day for three days now, so it´s pretty intense.

Olof: If you would describe the new album, how would you do that? How does it sound?

  • Peter: How does it sound? That´s a hard question…err…I would say it´s the most "easy-listening" we´ve done. Many people get surprised when they listen to it the first time, thinking "what is this?", but after a while they can hear that it sounds different, but it´s still The Haunted. Once they´ve given it a bit of thought they understand it. We actually started thinking about this already when we were finishing "Versus" about two years ago, and we felt we wanted to do an album you could just disappear into, you know? We´ve done so much sharp and hard music over the years and after a while it gets frustrating to listen to, and you get tired of all the brutality. Also playing it makes it even worse. This has been more of a disadvantage than an advantage, so we wanted to try and find a way to focus more on the songwriting. We´ve had elements of this on previous albums, but we wanted to focus on making an entire album like that, and not having to think of fitting into a genre. We also wanted to put more focus on the drums. Per is an amazing drummer, and we wanted to give him space, which actually brings a whole new dimension to the music. The rest of the band was nagging me as well to really use all of my vocal capacity and range. We just wanted to fuck the pressure of being placed in a genre, so there is no more "here comes The Haunted, thrash metal band". We´ve left the thrash behind. The influences are still there, and we still play metal, but it´s just…metal. We know that we are good at playing the music we play, and it does not really matter what kind of song we play, because it´s still us. We started writing two years ago with an open mind that anything could happen, and after a while we had some 40 songs, that we then chiseled down and worked with until, 18 months late, we had an album that we felt was really good. Then we just rushed through the studio. There is no point to stay in there longer than you need. The whole thing of using the studio as an instrument, we do that before we enter, at the demo-stage. The recording was really fast, and the mixing took a week, so there was no time wasted. This is a revolutionary album, both for us, but also in general I would believe. I think it´s definitely the most powerful one we´ve done.

Olof: You recorded this album in Denmark with Tue Madsen. Considering your songs were so finished when you entered, what was he able to bring to the album?

  • Peter: We have worked with Tue a lot, and he is a guy with a lot of love to the music, and who has been in the game for so long. His experience is great. Just him being there makes you calm and comfortable. You know, the thing about The Haunted is we have been everywhere. We´ve been driving through deserts in South Africa, playing at Indian camps in America, South America, Asia, everywhere, except for China, but I feel that will come soon. I don´t know how much you have traveled, but when you do this, all these places become real in some way. Tokyo is real for us, so are the shanty towns in Brazil, and the American south IS the most depressive and disgusting place on earth, but everywhere you find these extremely nice people. Some assholes as well of course, but most of the people you meet are actually extremely nice, and you´re like "holy shit!", these people want the same things as we and our friends do. They ARE our friends.

Olof: How would you say the band has developed the last years, both personally and musically?

  • Peter: It´s pretty obvious that when you lock five guys up in a tin can on wheels and drive them around the world for 15 years, it affects them, as I said before. You taste in music gets wider as well of course.

Olof: On your DVD "Road Kill", you paint a picture of life on tour as being very bad and rough. Have you done anything to change that life for the future?

  • Peter: Well, it does not really matter if you are The Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, or crappy The Haunted; you WILL be shipped like cattle all over the world anyhow. That´s never going to change until the teleport is invented. Promotion and arrangers can do stuff to make it better for the artists, but they don´t really. It´s all very romanticized in all these documentaries of band, making it up like they are just playing and partying all the time. "Hey, look at us, we´re constantly drunk!" It´s some kind of Leni Riefenstahl "übermench" thing going on. If we would do that, we would be dead soon. It drains energy just to travel. When we were in South America, we flew into a new country basically every day. Get up at five in the morning, get to the airport, wait for the plane, take the flight, land, get to the hotel, check in, get to the venue, soundcheck, interviews, get BACK to the hotel, eat, get to the venue, play a gig for 1½ hours (with the music we´re playing), hang around a bit, get back to the hotel, before getting about three or four hours of sleep. Then up at five to do the whole thing again. We did this for 21 days straight, and it is as hard as it sounds. But it´s our life and we love it. We´ve spent our lives doing this, so if we did not like it, there would be no reason to do it.

Olof: I heard that you request information about local AA and NA meetings when you are on tour tour. Is this true?

  • Peter: Yes, that´s my request. As I said, you can´t go around drinking and taking drugs all the time, it will destroy you. Just look at Dimebag Darrel for example. Before he was shot, he was a great guy, a great guy! But you could hardly understand what he was saying, because the drugs had destroyed him so bad. He was going "hurrhuhgruheuhugur". He could not get out of bed in the morning without drinking. It´s so depressing when you see your heroes become so wrecked, so you don´t want it to happen to yourself. So I´ve been working hard to stay clean from that shit, and it is hard work. I´ve been clean for five years now, and when I´m on tour and it is hard, I have the NA and AA to go to, so they can help me get through it, and it helps a lot! You have all the right in the world to come to our gigs, get pissed and have a blast, but don´t expect us to party. It´s disrespectful towards you, who pay to see us, to stand on stage being drunk and not able to do our best. It´s not what you´ve payed for.

Olof: Is there any gig that stands out when you´re looking back? Any gig that was absolutely phenomenally BAD, or good, for that matter?

  • Peter: Well….we played in Pennsylvania once, in an old church. I lost my voice that night, for the first time. It was so painful to have to swallow that pride of always being able to sing. You know, it was out of my reach, and I could do absolutely nothing about it. We performed the gig anyway, and I guess it went OK, during the circumstances. We have probably done some shitty gigs along the way to, from the fact that you sometimes overestimate your own abilities. If you play in Tokyo one night, fly to Detroit, play, fly to New York, play, and the fly to Roskilde to play, it is too much for you to cope with. About great gigs we did a gig in an Indian camp in Colorado. The venue was a joke, and the stage was about 2 inches high, the room was right next to some bar, the place looked like it was falling apart and the PA was some homemade shit with two channels working. The sound guy was mongoloid and deaf…I´m not kidding; he was mongoloid and deaf, for real! His assistant was there trying to help him, but the thing is; he was so stoned, so he had no idea about anything. Anyway, we used the two microphones for vocals and bass drum, and though, "what the hell". And out of the blue comes this audience of badass Indians, Mexicans, white trash, and all the other people, and they are so drunk and they have like the best party ever! Such a surprise. Another surprise was when we played in Oxford (a bit odd), and I had my only Iggy Pop moment. The audience was going nuts and dancing and all, so I threw myself into the crowd, feeling like Iggy. Four girls started tearing my clothes of, haha! And then they, you know…began to sexually work with my body. Almost harassment.

Olof: What is your favorite song by The Haunted, and why?

  • Peter: Favorite? That´s impossible….but…Bury Your Dead I guess I have to say. It is so clear about that you have to leave the old things behind, and move on.

Olof: Ok, last, but not least: What does the future look like for The Haunted?

  • Peter: That is a very hard question…almost absurd. No one knows what will happen tomorrow, you know? We think we know, and we think we can plan for the future, but in reality, we have no control what so ever and unpredicted things happen all the time. Right now, it feels great to be in The Haunted, and the last years of playing have been the closest you can get to a religious experience. We hope, of course, that this will go on for a long time, but you never know about the future.

Olof: Ok Peter, thanks for your time.

  • Peter: No problem. Take care. Bye!

See also: review of the album Unseen

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